With 2019 underway, now’s the time to plan your self-storage marketing roadmap for the new year. Whether you’re a small operator with a single facility or a larger one with a big portfolio, great marketing levels the playing field in our industry. Even without a big team, an amazing marketing program is possible for all, thanks to the plucky strategies in this article.
Below, you’ll find three options that’ll add great value to your new plan. All are related to organic website traffic. They’re initiatives that can be executed for free or a limited budget and are accessible to companies of all sizes.
Strategy 1: Align Your Efforts Around Seasonal Initiatives
The self-storage business is seasonal in nature. This time of year (January), we have a lot of customers looking to store and manage their holiday decorations. In early summer, local college students store their belongings for the break. In the peak of the summer, many new customers are moving into or out of a home. There are so many cycles that drive our customers and business.
The best marketing roadmap leverages this seasonality. Think of the events that align closely with your company’s core values and brand persona. Perhaps your organization is really big on charity and giving, so Thanksgiving will be a huge event on your calendar. Or perhaps your team really enjoys landscaping and your facility sports an impressive garden. Why not create a big initiative in the spring and promote your drive-up units to landscape professionals? Brainstorm and form your marketing calendar now so you’re prepared well in advance.
With endless promotional opportunities available, it’s important to be realistic. If you’re a large company, perhaps you can tackle a new seasonal milestone each month. If you’re a smaller operator with lean resources, you might focus on one milestone for the entire year. Regardless of your size and scale, approach your seasonal marketing with heart and depth. At a minimum, I suggest the following for each item on your calendar:
- Offer specials/coupons to celebrate the event.
- Write a blog post discussing the topic. (You have a blog on your website, right?)
- Share your passion for the season via social media including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other networks.
- Incorporate some in-store marketing collateral into the mix. Consider brochures, pamphlets and posters. If you offer use of a moving truck, consider a seasonal truck wrap.
Involve your entire team in the process so everyone is aligned around a common goal.
Bonus tip: Consider placing a financial objective around the initiative. For example, perhaps you want to acquire 10 new customers from each milestone.
Strategy 2: Rewrite Old Content
Many self-storage companies adopted a digital marketing strategy in the early days of the Internet. Their websites have been through various iterations over the years. During all these updates, however, the articles (content) were sometimes forgotten. I noticed this with my own company’s website. Some of our core articles, which are displayed prominently on our homepage, hadn’t been updated for years. For example, the one on packing tips for customers lacked images and depth.
I decided I would rewrite one piece of content every six months. I set the bar at a reasonable level, so I’d be destined to succeed. After all, my team is lean and our time is limited.
I helped a freelancer rewrite the packing-tips piece and engaged our digital-marketing partner to craft custom images that match our brand persona. By tackling content one piece at a time, I was able to turn this article into one of the best packing guides on the Internet (in my humble opinion).
As you think about your marketing in 2019, audit your website. Even if it looks amazing and just underwent a major redesign, consider your content. Are there any pieces that need a revamp? Why not just pick one or two to tackle this year? You can also outsource to gain scale. Set deadlines for project completion and mark them in your calendar.
Bonus tip: Consider auditing your “About Us” page. It’s often highly visited, yet most of us forget to invest time in making it the best possible resource.
Strategy 3: Film and Upload One Video
Did you know that behind Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet? YouTube videos also display in Google search results.
In the modern world, we’re all so busy. We want to save customers time and make their self-storage experience incredible. Video is an amazing resource for educating and delighting prospects and tenants! It can take many shapes and forms: drone property overviews, manager interviews, guides and tips, and more.
This year, put video on your roadmap. While this may seem overwhelming, you can break it into these simple steps:
- If you don’t have one already, create a YouTube channel for your storage facility.
- Determine the type of video you want to film. For a first-timer, a drone property overview is great. If you don’t have the budget for a drone videographer, you can film a standard property walk-through on your smartphone. Keep it simple.
- Brainstorm with your team and develop a creative script and strategy.
- Film the video.
- Edit the video. (For first-timers, Apple’s iMovie is great.)
- Upload the video to YouTube.
- Promote the video on your social media profiles.
- Embed the video on your website. Your facility homepage and blog make great places for this. YouTube makes it super easy to accomplish.
With video, you want to put your best foot forward; yet you don’t want to delay out of fear that your content won’t be good enough. In the age of social media, I’ve found customers truly appreciate a “home-brewed” approach. It’s OK if your video isn’t perfect. People want to see your brand persona shine through.
At the end of the day, we’re blessed in our industry to have physical locations. Let them stand out on your website and social media through the power of video.
Bonus tip: Did you know you can embed a facility video tour on your Yelp profile page? There are file-size requirements (your video will have to be less than 200 MB), and you’ll need to work with your Yelp representative to get on the package/plan that offers video.
Putting It All Together
Here’s what a sample roadmap might look like, incorporating all three strategies. This one prioritizes strategy 1, then 2, then 3. Choose an order that fits most naturally with your company’s skillset and interests.
Now, it’s time to take action. I invite you to sit down and start planning your 2019 marketing. Of course, your roadmap will contain a variety of initiatives, but incorporating these three will add lasting content and value to your website and attract new customers. These actions are accessible to organizations of all sizes and require little or even no spend. Even small teams can execute them!
Ian Lopuch is a business and marketing executive and a general manager with deep roots in technology. He’s also an investor with a lifelong obsession with cash flow. As a partner at Carlo Development LLC, the company behind Smart Self Storage, Lopuch handles responsibilities that include marketing and growth, commercial real estate development, technology, and executive leadership. He previously held leadership positions at some of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing startups. To reach him, call 650.241.9124; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.smartselfstorage.com.